The flawed logic of a Clutha-Southland candidate

The battle over Clutha-Southland is going to pit the Evil Six and their hand-picked candidate against the people who want them a long, long way from the National Party.

One of the non-Evil Six candidates, Allan Baird, has a good resume for a rural electorate MP, but seems to have disqualified himself with a very, very strange statement.

While Baird believed he would be a good pick for the role, there is a potential detractor to his bid – his upcoming court appearance to determine the outcome of an effluent spill from his farm into a tributary of the Winton Stream.

A staff member’s error led to the discharge. Baird is expected to appear in court on July 12.

Baird said the spill and following investigation and possible prosecution was “potentially media-worthy”.

“Sure we want farmers to be aware of the community’s expectations but accidents do happen.”

The whole saga had caused a lot of mental anguish waiting for the outcome of the spill. Baird said there were aspects of the Resource Management Act which were inconsistently managed across the regions.

Baird reported the incident on his farm himself. He said Environment Southland was sending a bad signal to farmers that if they reported their spill they would have to appear in court.

“What signal does it send to farmers about trying to be honest and do the right thing if it ultimately results in them getting a criminal conviction and even a fine.”

Baird said he just had to be frank, open and honest about what happened on his farm.

This line here is what makes Allan Baird’s candidacy so questionable.

“What signal does it send to farmers about trying to be honest and do the right thing if it ultimately results in them getting a criminal conviction and even a fine.”

By Baird’s logic if you commit an offence you just have to confess and your sins will be absolved without being punished. How this works is a mystery, Allan Baird needs to explain if the same applies to a murderer who hands themselves in, or a rapist who walks down to the local police station and confesses all. Would they get off? Or would the scales of justice be applied to them evenly?

This would be a very interesting question for the preselection committee and the selection delegates to ask. Does Allan Baird believe that confessing sins means you should be given a get out of jail free card?

More importantly, Bill English forced out Todd Barclay for being under investigation…I’m not sure the board would contemplate putting a candidate of their own who is currently before the courts.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.